|Project by ToddE||posted 10-03-2008 07:48 PM||2106 views||2 times favorited||9 comments|
I wanted to get this project posted for a couple reasons. The biggest was that it was a project that had to be assembled on location, but built in the shop. I have a good friend that does that sort of thing for a living, but when you don’t, it becomes difficult, especially when you have my second goal in mind. My second goal was to have no fasteners exposed, anywhere, inside or out. I didn’t want anything visible from any direction, no nail heads, staples, screws and I didn’t want to use any wood filler.
This was a custom job, built to the exact specs of the owner and was to be a surprise for her mother, so I had a specific date for completion (while mom was on vacation). She also wanted to have it a very simple peice, no ogee trim, “victorian fancy stuff” as she put it or anything. I knew right away that the corners and edges must be sharp. With hard maple, they can be as sharp as a knife as I cut myself several times pushing wood through the saw, just like a deep paper cut.
I had ordered rough cut, hard maple in from our forest product plant. Risky for the cost, because most of the maple that I have been getting is grayed. I got a great deal on the wood, but boy is it hard on the equipment. Some of the wood was curled, but most of it was straight grained. I loved it as soon as I planed the first peice and specifically saved the curley boards for the two large doors in the center.
The cabinet itself is 72” wide x 80” tall. There is one main section and two side wing cabinets. I wanted it to have a layered effect that resembled a building. One that had definitive lines and levels. Strong foundation and a reaching appearance. I thought that the blond color of the maple was great, but the sharp lines and edges seemed to visually wash out. So I thought that if I put cherry accents in the doors and bottom trim, it may create contrast within the peice and cause the observer to look around at different angles. Again, very straight-boxy appearance with trim and door accents. I also matched the color tone of the reddish/orange hue of the wood grain with the cherry wood. The cherry inserts were 3/8” square, 1/4” thick and were sanded to surface. The trim has a 3/8” wide strip that was angled on the sides and I viced them into the rabbit and then hand-planed them down. The shelves were made of 3/4 maple plywood, faced with 3/8” hard maple. The shelves have four standards in each case and can be raised in lowered at the customer’s discretion.
The door glass was made out of 1/4 inch plexiglass(lexan). There is several ways to snow or frost the glass and yes, I used plexiglass, but there is a reason. The customer had her granddaughter over one day and she decided to swing on a glass door of a cabinet and it busted and almost cut her arm off. So no glass, tempered or not, was to be used. I was going to order milk plexi, but it is absolutely insane, cost wise and I need to be able to make the project under 80 grand, so I went with regular 1/4 lexan plexi and sanders. The handles I found in three perfect sizes for the doors, each 22% of the over all length of the door. I wanted stainless steel for the door pulls and hinges because of the quality and appearance of strength and sterility it has. I thought the rod pulls would add ‘narrowness’ to my stretch efforts.
I also tried to put a stacked appearance to the peice, so I added a center rail to the cabinet, to resemble a craftsman style hutch. As far as the two peice, stacked look goes. I really wanted to put six doors in the center, but the customer wanted only four wider ones in the center for large shelves in the middle sections. My idea was to make the cabinet slender and tall. I thought with six doors I would acheive that easier, but it was not to be. I also had trim that I was going to put on the top, but it made the cabinet too big for the room. I know the pictures really don’t do any justice to the peice, but I have to stand in another room to take the pictures. What would I do different if it was my choice: mullions in the doors to break up the large area and the six doors in the center. I have about $1,000 in materials and about 110 hours into making it. Thanks for looking.
-- Allegheny Woodshop